Monday, October 22, 2012

Clear Gel Terminal Testing Speer Gold Dot 9mm +P 124 Grain GDHP

I believe this is a widely used load with many Law Enforcement Agencies.  It also has a very good reputation around the various web forums that I visit.  I actually tested this load previously through the 3.3" Boberg XR9-S it it's civilian Personal Protection packaging HERE.  I believe it tested well in the short barrel.  Since I started using the Clear Gel product, I thought it would be good to run another test on this load through a bit longer barrel.  For this test, I used the Glock 17.  
Pistol Specs:
Glock 17 with 4.5" barrel

Testing Protocol:
My testing process is pretty simple.  I take one shot at the end of a Clear Ballistics Gel block.  I take the shot from 8 feet away and impact velocity is measured 2 inches away from the block.  Clear Ballistics Gel is calibrated to 10% ballistics gel density.  I shoot the block at the range and then bring it home to analyze the block and recover the bullets.  Immediately prior to the terminal test, I shoot a five shot velocity test string from 8 feet over a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital chronograph.
I'm not sure if everyone knows this, but Speer's Law Enforcement website allows you to create a poster of their test results from the various testing protocols used by LE agencies.  I created a terminal performance poster for this load and it came up without any copyright information on the poster so I assume it's ok to post their bare gel test results along with my test results.  I like the similarities between the test results.  Speer had more velocity and expansion with less penetration.  I had less velocity with less expansion and more penetration.  Our recovered weights were identical.  If our initial velocity numbers were similar, I have to believe our other stats would have been closer.


 The video below documents my entire test from range testing to bullet recovery.

My Thoughts
The combination of the Glock 17 and Speer Gold Dot 9mm +P 124 grain GDHP hit all the expected performance benchmarks.  Velocity was a bit under the published specification, expansion was complete, weight retention was perfect, and penetration exceeded the 12" minimum that so many consider to be an absolute requirement for any defensive ammunition choice.  I hope the addition of the analysis of the clear block added a new dimension to the performance results by giving us visibility of what happens inside the block at moment of impact and also the luxury of reviewing the wound channel many days after the test was initially conducted.

Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested.  All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media.  Terminal performance in all other media will show different results.  It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs.  It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.

Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.


  1. Hey Bruce ---

    Great work, as usual. Any plans to test any .40 S&W ammo from your PM40?

    1. I'm actually active on that right now, but several weeks away from publishing anything. I still like the Critical Duty in the PM40 primarily because it always feeds in my PM40.

    2. Awesome Bruce. I have a Shield in 40, so it's really nice to see tests with short barrels, since most companies publish penetration and velocity data from 4 or 5 inch barrels. Keep up the good work my friend.

  2. Could you please tell me where you go the nice clear gel? This would be great for a project I want to start.

    1. Hi David. Clear Ballistics is my gel supplier. At the bottom of the blog posts you will see a banner ad that is linked to their website. If you decide to purchase, please remember to use the PGAG discount code for 5% off your order.